The Hudson’s Bay store at Les Jardins Dorval in suburban Montreal will be closing in September of 2021. It’s the third confirmed closure for a Hudson’s Bay store in Canada this year, following the announcements that the downtown Edmonton and downtown Winnipeg Bay stores would also shut forever.
The 103,576 square foot two-level Les Jardins Dorval Bay department store location has been operational for about 66 years. On April 29, 1954, the space opened as an upscale Morgan’s department store. In 1969 the store was destroyed by a fire and it was rebuilt in 1970 under Hudson’s Bay Co. ownership — HBC acquired the Morgan’s chain in 1960 and converted Morgan’s to the Bay in 1972.
When Jardins Dorval opened in 1954, the strip mall had 35 stores and was anchored by Morgan’s and a Steinberg’s supermarket. Ivanhoé Cambridge was the developer of Jardins Dorval which is now managed by CentreCorp Management and houses about 60 retail spaces, many lacking tenants. Anchors include an 80,808 square foot Walmart store and a 53,032 square foot Maxi store.
Future of Jardins Dorval in Question With Hudson’s Bay Shuttering
The future of Jardins Dorval is in question with the shuttering of its Bay department store. Lease plans indicate numerous vacancies. Les Jardins Dorval is the oldest shopping centre on Montreal’s West Island and spans about 365,000 square feet. The southern portion of the Jardins Dorval property will be redeveloped with multi-family residential buildings and there’s a possibly that the existing shopping centre could eventually be demolished for further site intensification.
On Monday of this week, Hudson’s Bay closed its iconic 675,000-square-foot flagship store in downtown Winnipeg, which operated there for about 94 years. The store was supposed to close in February of 2021, and many are surprised that it was shut before the Christmas shopping rush. Hudson’s Bay is also expected to soon close its 168,000-square-foot store in downtown Edmonton at Edmonton City Centre.
Hudson’s Bay has been in the news recently for a variety of reasons. The company hasnt’ been paying rent for many of its stores in Canada since April, claiming that shopping centre landlords are not maintaining “first class properties”. Litigation is ongoing, with HBC and landlords both suing. Some landlords have attempted to evict Hudson’s Bay from some properties and some judges have granted injunctions which include Hudson’s Bay having to pay some outstanding rents in order to continue with the litigation.
In October we reported that Les Jardins Dorval’s owner, Toronto-based Dorval Property Corporation, was suing the Hudson’s Bay Company for about $660,000 for unpaid rents. The monthly rent that HBC was paying for the Dorval building was about $60,000 per month. A judge in Quebec recently ordered HBC to pay $120,000 for October and November 2020 rents, and that rent be paid moving forward — it would appear that won’t be for long, however.
Last week, Hudson’s Bay’s president Iain Nairn said in a webinar with Retail Council of Canada that Hudson’s Bay is looking to downsize its physical retail footprint while expanding its online offerings while looking to redevelop some store properties. Some existing Hudson’s Bay stores will be downsized to become something of a ‘showroom’ concept with some retail space being converted for online order fulfillment. Hudson’s Bay also recently announced that it launched a real estate development arm, and the company is looking at some properties with an eye to making money from non-retail uses. In downtown Montreal, the flagship Baie store could see the addition of a residential tower, for example, which would create a built-in customer base for the adjacent Hudson’s Bay store.
We’ll continue to follow this story.